Huffington Post Greece – Sep. 14, 2018
Recent statements by the Russian leadership and the Assad regime officials have repeatedly raised the need to start the return of Syrian refugees from the various countries of the world to their country. These statements were made mainly after the success of Russia, Iran and its militias supporting the Assad regime to regain control over several Syrian areas controlled by the Syrian opposition, especially the provinces of Daraa and Quneitra in the southern part of the country. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began an international tour that included Jordan, Lebanon, Germany and France urging those countries to start the return of Syrian refugees, stressing that the atmosphere in Syria began to stabilize and that there was no fear of their safety. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Assad has managed to regain control over 90% of Syria and eliminate the ISIS terrorist organization, as well as that the political solution has already begun through the selection of the constitutional committee responsible for restructuring Syrian constitution in preparation for parliamentary elections.
First of all, we must stress here that it is imperative for Russia to start the return of refugees to Syria. Their return will mark the beginning of the reconstruction of the country. The Russian government, which launched a military intervention in Syria in September 2015, paid a cost of at least $ 2 billion to build its bases, plus the cost of missiles and bombs. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, it has conducted at least 18,000 air raids. The same source confirmed that the number of Russian troops in Syria exceeds 63,000. Moscow is still in the payout phase waiting for the profit stage through the reconstruction of Syria and oil, gas and phosphate contracts. However, reconstruction requires huge financial support. Western reports confirm the country’s initial needs to be in excess of $ 500 billion. Naturally, Moscow or Iran will not pay for these figures, but rather expect the Arab Gulf countries, Europe and America to pay this huge amount. Given the voices within the European continent seeking refugee returns, Moscow benefits from this noise and is pushing for the material support of the Assad regime in return for the refugees. But it is clear that all these visits of Lavrov did not bring anything new. Europe and America still deny the return of Syrian refugees without the end of the Syrian crisis through a politically viable solution. The latest statements by French President Macron confirm that the political solution is to form a democratic Syrian government without Assad.
In fact, statements and assurances from Russia are a huge lie: Assad does not control 90% of Syria, but not more than 55% . The Kurds, supported by the US and Europe, control 15% while the Syrian opposition continues to control 10% of the Syrian territory and ISIS, which Russia has stated since the beginning of the year it eliminated it, still controls the 10%. This reality, therefore, does not give European governments the right to return refugees, as their security in the areas of the regime is not guaranteed. One of the most prominent military leaders of the regime a few months ago warned refugees that as soon as they returned to Syria they would be treated as terrorists. As Syria’s information and reports confirm, the Assad forces have captured many residents of the regions that have accepted reconciliation agreements. Other reports point out that the Assad regime forces young men from these areas to join its forces to fight against the Syrian military opposition in Idlib province.
Russia’s economic need, especially following the imposition of the huge economic sanctions by Washington, has prompted it to accelerate the imposition of a political solution in Syria. But without the American and European support for this solution, it will just be ink on the paper. The situation in Syria confirms that the war is continuing and will not end in the long run. The occasional downturn in the Syrian opposition does not in any way mean the end of the Syrian revolution. With a simple reference to history, the reader can be sure that when people seek freedom they will not stop if they do not get it.